Monday, October 17, 2011, the City of Lubbock experienced something as out of GRAPES OF WRATH. A 7,000 feet high wall of dust rolled over the city, choking, blinding, and covering everything.
Wall of Dust Rolls over Lubbock, October, 2011 A reminder of the worst drought in 40 years.
It was like a revisit of the Dust Bowl days of the 1930's that were written in Steinbeck's GRAPES OF WRATH. A wall of dust, reaching 7,000 feet into the sky, rolled across Lubbock, pushed by winds of up to 70 miles per hour. To me it was like a message, an ominous messege to us, from Mother Nature. I imagined that she was saying: "This is a warning. More and worse are on the way. Get ready."
Some thought it was a rain storm, but there was no rain in the dark cloud. Only dust. Dry wind and dust.
This dust is a reminder of the interview we put on the benboothe You Tube site, of an 87 year old farmer a few months ago. Pauletta Daniels, who has farmed in West Texas predicted:
"This is the worst drought that we have had in my lifetime. If it doesn't break, many people will go belly up." Pauletta Daniels, Farmer, Lubbock, Texas
More and more farmers, businesses, banks, entire communities and regions are feeling the truth of her prophecy. We embed the video with her words here as a reminder. Not only is our nation experiencing the worst economy in 40 years, the farm economies of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and even as far west as California have suffered from continued drought and the levels of disaster are not yet known or appreciated by the general populaton of the USA. Over 90% of Texas, 80% of Oklahoma, 60% of New Mexico and Kansas are considered "Disaster" areas by the Federal Government. Over $5,000,000,000 (Billion) in economic losses have already occured. The 2011 winter is predicted to be dryer than ever, and parts of Texas and the Southwest are "30 inches below normal". Creeks, rivers, lakes are low or dry. Grass and grazing shortages have caused hundreds of thousands of cattle to be sold off, destroying future herds. Pauletta Daniels, that 87 year old farmer in Lubbock, was absolutely right. Cooler weather does not change the fact that we are still in a drought. Mrs Daniels, is convinced that this is a result of climate change, as are most farmers and ranchers who work with the land and watch nature closer than anyone. There is an absence of voices and leaders stepping forward to understand and determine how to react, how can we help save agricultural cities and industry. What about those farmers and ranchers who are simply going bankrupt and walking away? What about the merchants and towns that depend upon agriculture to survive? What about banks that are slowly seeing their assets dwindle?
There are steps that we need to take to save our farm economy and our national economy, and this requires active involvement, intense thinking and planning.
Again I call for voices and thinking people to step forward.
Where are the Chamber of Commerce leaders, the Judges, the County Commissioners? Where are the public meetings and planning sessions?
It is time for leaders to lead, or people to create leadershp groups.
We at Global Perspectives see this, and it is serious, very serious. In the 1930's, 40's we had people like Sam Rayburn to help lead the way and truly put in place programs to help save business and communities. You know the difference between recession and depression is recession is when the other guy suffers, depression is when you suffer. Everyone in West Texas and the Southwest is impacted by this, and you can't simply turn on your TV and pretend that it isn't happening. You need to encourage people with insight and wisdom to start meeting and thinking, exchanging ideas of how our society (your neighbors and friends) can hold hands and organize means of support. We are all in this boat together. It used to be called, friends helping friends. Now is the time. Selfish independence and lack of cooperation is foolish during times of collapse, with no help from the climate and an economy that is already crippled nationally. If we fail to think, to act, to plan,we could see large portions of our economy, especially agricultural sectors, disappear and shrink. In the 1950's it is said that over 150 towns that had formerly been alive and prosperous, were gutted, in Texas alone. Those empty storefronts and farmlands turned into fallow brushland, attest to inaction. We should never forget, that a nation that cannot produce it's own food and fiber is at great disadvantage in the world. No nation, without good sources of agricultural production has survived or prospered for long. Get together, with the smart and thinking people that you know, and start meeting in homes, community centes, churches, and pool ideas. Then voice them. We will help by publishing your ideas, and sending them on to newspapers and media voices.
Ben Boothe, Publisher: Global Perspectives (www.bootheglobalperspectives.com)